Sunday, August 30, 2015

Bell's Neptune Review

Name: Bell's Neptune
Style: Imperial Stout
ABV: 9%

After a year of keeping up with this series, we've come to the final beer in the Bell's Brewing Planet Series, which takes its name from the Gustav Holst orchestral suite: The Planets.

We've come to Neptune: The Mystic & it's the beer that I've been looking forward to the most since I first heard about it last year. That's because the details about this beer were mum at best with the only information given that it was based on a recipe that Larry Bell used back when he was homebrewing. Well the specifics have finally been revealed about this beer and, great googly moogly, there are bunch of them.

The list of ingredients used in this beer (aside from hops, barley, yeast, and water) are as follows:

  • Star anise
  • Dried cayenne
  • Raisins
  • Dates
  • Black pepper
  • Hickory bark
  • Dandelion root
  • Nutmeg
  • Grains of paradise
  • Fenugreek seeds
  • Maple syrup
  • Molasses
  • Cane Sugar
Is this a beer we're talking about here or a potion that you'd find in a wizard's lab? Then again, it is called a Mystical Stout by the brewery, so for all we know, there's a good chance that this may give me a pair of wings (not really.)

Appearance - Pitch black in color with no visible carbonation to speak of. The head is quite thin in appearance with dark brown hue and rather filmy retention. The lacing is also very sparse and almost nonexistent.

Aroma - Where do I begin? The molasses and raisin notes are front-in-center that are followed by some dark fruitness and oak notes. I'm also getting some light maple syrup notes with a bit of spiciness, some nutmeg and even a hint of black peppers. There are of course other scents in here but they're too close together to distinguish one from the other. All of this is supported by a solid chocolate malt backbone.

Taste - Rum raisin, maple syrup, and chocolate malts make up the front of the flavor, before giving away to molasses, nutmeg, and oakiness in the middle. That, in turn, is followed by some dates & cheyenne peppers.....which is followed by some more rum raisin & black peppers, some grassiness that tastes like the smell of a dandelion.....before finally rounding out with some roasted barley, chocolate sweetness and a bit of a peppery kick.

The amount of layers along with the sheer diversity in the overall flavor borderlines on being mindblowing. Like a Russian nesting doll, the flavors keep coming out of nowhere just when you think it's finished and then some after that. This is one of the most complex tasting Imperial Stouts I've ever had

I'm going to make an impassioned plea to Bell's Brewing here: I know you have tons of different styles of beer that you produce each year and I'm painfully aware that beers like Neptune are more of a niche than say Two Hearted. However if you can find it in your heart to bring this back in some way, shape, or capacity, you will have my eternal gratitude.

It is rare that I find a beer so perfect that it leaves a lasting impression on me and this is one of those beers. It makes it all the more unfortunate that this is a one time deal, because Neptune is a love letter to fans of the Imperial Stout style. I know it's unlikely that this beer will ever see the light of day again, so if you're able to find this, there is no question that you need to buy this. It is beers like Neptune that make the world of craft beer such a fun & interesting place.

Bell's Neptune - 10/10

Saturday, August 29, 2015

Third Street Brewhouse Rise3 Above Review

Name: Third Street Brewhouse Rise3 Above
Style: Cream Ale
ABV: 8.6%
IBUs: 25

Had you told me three years ago that styles like a pilsner or cream ale would one day be Imperialized (i.e. stronger than normal), I would've looked at you with bewilderment, shaken my head, and went about playing Temple Run on my phone as I would've been on the subway headed home and you would've been a crazy person who spent their day weirding out patrons of the Red Line L-Train.

Yet here we are three years later, and now styles that were once considered to be light have found themselves coming under the influence of the Imperial Monster by becoming stronger, faster and bolder. Case in point, Third Street Brewhouse's Rise3Above, an Imperialized Cream Ale that was created to celebrate the 3rd anniversary of the Third Street Brewhouse, which is formally known as the Cold Spring Brewery. Once called Rise to the Top, I guess reaching the top of a mountain wasn't enough, so I'm guessing this beer acquired a jet pack and went even higher; Though I noticed on the label that the guy didn't scale the tallest mountain but I think they're saving that for the inevitable RiseAbove release.

I've never, for the life of me, have had an Imperialized cream ale before. In fact, I've only had maybe a few Imperialized lagers before this and my experience with all of them have been very hit-or-miss. Regardless I'm very curious to see how this one pans out.

Appearance - A hazy wet straw color with a mild amount of visible carbonation. The head is quite thin with only a little bit of retention and the lacing is nowhere to be found.

Aroma - I'm getting some light flaked corn mixed in with some pale maltiness. I'm also picking up on some light floral hop notes and even some mild toffee sweetness. For a beer that is in the upper 8% range, this smells surprisingly tame.

Taste - Well, everything certainly tastes stronger than what the nose leads you to believe. The flaked corn and pale malt backbone come out in force and are both reasonably strong. The floral hop notes are still pretty light as usual but the toffee sweetness is amplified here as well. There is also a potent yeastiness here too that shows itself on the back of the palate. Yes, there is even a hint of booziness in the flavor as well but it doesn't interfere with the overall flavor.

This is one of those beers that you're either going to love or hate. Traditionalists of the cream ale style aren't going to like this too much while those who like to see beer explore uncharted territory will find something to love about this. As for me? I can't help but feel that for a beer that is 8.6%, that there is something missing from the flavor; Kind of like a dish that would be better with salt but it's nowhere to be found.

Nitpicking aside, I think it's an interesting concept that has some redeeming qualities to it nonetheless and I think it's worth trying out at least once just to get a feel for the style.

Third Street Brewhouse Rise3 Above - 8/10

Thursday, August 27, 2015

Shmaltz He'Brew St. Lenny's Review

Name: Shmaltz He'Brew St. Lenny's
Style: Imperial IPA
ABV: 10%
IBUs: 90

Today, I've got a very special review lined up because it involves a highly regarded between collaboration with two highly regarded breweries. I bring to you St. Lenny's, a Belgian Style Double Rye IPA, which is a collaboration between Shmaltz Brewing Company, based out of Clifton Park, NY & Cathedral Square Brewing, based out of St Louis, MO.

Shmaltz Brewing was kind enough to send me a sample of this for me to review in anticipation of the release of this beer. This is a variation of Shmaltz Brewing's Bittersweet Lenny's R.I.P.A (Rye India Pale Ale) as St. Lenny's uses a Belgian Yeast strain but everything else in the recipe is roughly the same, at least to my knowledge

Appearance - A dark orange/almost ruby red color that has a very hazy look to it with no visible carbonation. The head is about 1-finger in width with a light khaki-colored appearance and the lacing is also quite abundant.

Aroma - Strong caramelized malt sweetness and Belgian yeasts dominate the front of the nose, which gives it a distinct bubblegum scent. I'm also picking up on some moderate dank piney hoppiness and the itself rye is tucked away in the back at first but it becomes more prevalent as the beer warms up.

Taste - Much like the nose, strong caramelized malts and Belgian yeasts make up the front of the palate with some cloves thrown in for good measure. While the caramelized malts linger throughout, the dank piney hops and rye shine through nicely on the back end of the palate. The aftertaste consists of more caramel sweetness, rye, and some mild bitter hoppiness.

I've had quite a few Belgian IPAs before but this is definitely one of the best ones I've had in a long time. The Belgian yeasts and candied caramel malt backbone give this a very nice sweetness while the dank hops and rye aspects of the flavor keep everything from being too sweet, which makes this beer strike a perfect balance in terms of flavor. A big thanks once again to Shmaltz Brewing for sending me a bottle of this for me to try out!

Shmaltz He'Brew St. Lenny's 9.5/10

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Wisconsin Dells Kilbourn Hop Ale Review

Name: Wisconsin Dells Kilbourn Hop Ale
Style: American Pale Ale
ABV: 5.5%

Last weekend, my wife and her family were vacationing at Wisconsin Dells, the self-proclaimed waterpark capital of the world. I was unable to attend due to other commitments but I asked my wife if she would get some beers for me from the Wisconsin Dells Brewing Company, which is a brewery located inside Moosejaw Pizza and one of the two breweries located in the city proper.

Right now, their beer is available in only a handful of cities in the southern half of Wisconsin. For this review, I'll be looking at their Kilbourn Hop Ale, which gets its name from Kilbourn City, which later changed to Wisconsin Dells. According to the brewery's website, there were hop farms located the area in 1842 and Kilbourn City was the supposed epicenter of the hop boom.

Appearance - A very hazy dark orange color with no visible carbonation. The head is quite thin with decent retention and there is some very sparse lacing along the sides of the glass.

Aroma - Citrus and bitter hops upfront followed by a solid toffee malt backbone. I'm also getting some light orange peel notes and some moderate yeastiness, almost like baked bread.

Taste - Pungent citrus hops and mild piney hops with some more toffee maltiness, a touch of bitter hoppiness and just a very light hint of roastiness. The aftertaste is made up of light yeastiness and some mild grapefruit notes.

I have to say this is quite good! It doesn't do anything that I already haven't seen but this is a nice drinkable pale ale. If I ever find myself in Wisconsin Dells in the future, I'll be sure to check out more of their beers should I get to opportunity.

Wisconsin Dells Kilbourn Hop Ale - 8.25/10

Monday, August 24, 2015

Evil Twin Hipster Ale Review

Name: Evil Twin Hipster Ale
Style: American Pale Ale
ABV: 5.5%

Hipsters, they've been the butt of many jokes for the past few years. Whether you love them or despise them, there is no doubt that they have, to some extent, promoted the image of craft beer. As to whether that image is positive or negative is a matter of opinion.

So leave it to Evil Twin Brewing to create the Hipster Ale, a tribute ale to hipsters, and by hipsters, I mean us......or something. I'll show you the label and let that do the talking:

Perhaps you heard of a worldwide beer-movement that tributes favorite hipster neighbourhoods across the globe. If you feel excluded because you’re hip but your city is not, this cutting-edge, ‘hip without border’ pale ale is an homage to you - the global hipster. Cheers!

Funny because I wouldn't even consider myself to be a hipster, in fact the most hipster thing I would consider part of myself would be the music I listen to. Also the hipster neighborhood here in Minneapolis-St. Paul would be Northeast Minneapolis but whenever I go there to visit one of the many taprooms, there's always more non-hipsters there than hipsters. Anyways, I'm not drawing it out any further so let's look at the beer.

Appearance - Cloudy dark yellow color with a mild amount of visible carbonation. The head is quite foamy with some great retention. There is also a good amount of lacing that also has pretty good retention as well.

Aroma - Pungent bready biscuit yeastiness dominates the front of the nose and is backed up by some moderate flora hops, mild bitter resiny hops and some light toffee maltiness.

Taste - Floral and resin hops upfront, followed by a mild toffee malt backbone with a bitter hop and light yeast aftertaste.

The flavor lacks the vibrancy that is in the nose and that hurts it some. That said, it possesses a decent flavor but given the higher-than-normal price I paid for it ($2.39 for a single can) and the available number of better tasting beers of the same style, this wouldn't be my first choice. You make great beers, Evil Twin, but this one is merely okay.

Evil Twin Hipster Ale - 7/10

Thursday, August 20, 2015

Ballast Point Grapefruit Sculpin Review

Name: Ballast Point Grapefruit Sculpin
Style: India Pale Ale
ABV: 7%
IBUs: 70

About 2 years ago, I reviewed Ballast Point's Sculpin IPA, which had recently began distribution in Minnesota. At the time, I considered it to be a very good beer and I didn't warrant any complaints against it, which could've been a case of rose-tinted glasses at the time. I've since found a valid complaint about it: it's way too expensive.

Which brings us to the Grapefruit Sculpin, which is their Sculpin IPA but made with actual grapefruit. Normally this goes for $15 a six pack, which makes me all the more thankful that I got this as just a single 12oz. bottle for literally a fraction of what I'd have to pay to get a six pack. Still, I've heard some pretty good things about it, so let's see how it is.

Appearance - Hazy dark orange color with a mild amount of visible carbonation. The head is fairly foamy, if not, on the thinner side with decent retention and there's some moderate lacing along the sides of the glass.

Aroma - Strong citrus hops mixed in with some grapefruit notes & caramelized maltiness, along with some apricots and mangoes. Looking at my notes from almost 2 years ago, I wrote.....pretty much the same thing.

Taste - Strong citrus hops and caramel maltiness notes on the front of the palate with a very potent grapefruitness that reminds me strongly of Froot Loops cereal. These in turn are followed by some mango sweetness. bitter piney hoppiness and a very light yeastiness. The aftertaste, however, is still quite bitter and resiny. Also much the original, the palate is still stingy just in case you were wondering.

With Grapefruit/Froot Loops flavor aside, this is pretty much the same beer that I had nearly 2 years ago, which isn't really a bad thing as it's still an outstanding IPA. The only real drawback to this beer is that it's too expensive as a six-pack, which makes it slightly harder to recommend if you're not looking to pay the full price for admission. If you're able to buy this in single bottles, however, then by all means go for it!

Ballast Point Grapefruit Sculpin - 8.5/10

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Jester King Black Metal Review

Name: Jester King Black Metal 
Style: Imperial Stout
ABV: 9.3%
IBUs: 60

I think now is a good time to finish off the second Texas craft beer package that I got about a month ago, and now you can see why. Two of the beers sent to me were from Jester King Brewing based out of Austin, Texas.

Jester King is known for specialising in mostly Wild & Farmhouse (i.e. Saison) style ales so it comes as little shock to me that the first beer we're looking at is described as a Farmhouse Imperial Stout. I give to you Black Metal. On the label there are the ingredients plus a quote about introducing yeast strains to a fermenting beer and how sour beers have more character than non-sour beers.
Appearance - Pitch black with no visible carbonation. The head takes on a light brown color and is very foamy but I'm not getting any lacing along the sides of the glass.

Aroma - Strong chocolate malt and cherry sweetness/tartness upfront with some light Belgian Yeasts, a bit of toffeeness, some mild bitter hoppiness and maybe some light booziness. The cherry aspect of the nose reminds me a bit of Founder's Imperial Stout, though that is probably the sourness I'm getting and not the actual hops.

Taste - It's fairly identical to the nose. You've got strong chocolate malts with some Belgian yeastiness and a rather strong cherry sour tartness at first. As it warms up however, the tartness becomes more mellow and the beer starts to become more Imperial Stout-like in terms of overall flavor.

This is unlike any Imperial Stout I've had so far and the cherry sourness definitely takes you by surprise and tricks you into thinking it's hoppier than it actually is. With that said, it's a different Imperial Stout that trends unfamiliar territory, but it's a tasty one at that. If you ever find yourself in Texas, this one is a recommended buy.

Jester King Black Metal - 9/10

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Milwaukee Brewing Increase Wheat Review

Name: Milwaukee Brewing Increase Wheat
Style: Berliner Weisse
ABV: 3.1%
IBUs: 5

Though the summer seasonal beer releases are starting to fade away, I still do have a beer or two in the fridge that are technically summer seasonals. The beer I'll be looking at today is Milwaukee Brewing's Increase Wheat. It's a Berliner Weisse style ale that is brewed with Gooseberries. For the record, I've never actually consumed Gooseberries before and have no idea what they taste like. In fact.........

I don't think I've ever reviewed an actual Berliner Weisse on this blog ever. That's not to say that I haven't had them before, I had the Schell's North Country Brunette & New Glarus' Berliner Weisse but I wasn't taking notes at the time (or taking photos for that matter.)

Appearance - Foggy pale yellow color with a mild amount of visible carbonation climbing up the sides of the glass. The head is fairly thin for the most part with some very sparse lacing along the sides of the glass.

Aroma - Picking up on some light sour notes with hints of berry sweetness (which I'm going to assume is the gooseberries). As such, I'm also getting some malted wheat in here as well.

Taste - Getting some moderate sourness upfront paired with some malted wheat, the former of which gains momentum in the back of the palate which consists of some mild gooseberry (I think) and white grape sweetness. As for the aftertaste, it's fairly dry save for a mild indeterminate tartness.

This is definitely not the sourest nor the most complex Berliner Weisse I've had. At the same time, it's tolerable, drinkable and possesses a decent flavor though this probably wouldn't be my first choice as far as the Berliner Weisse style goes. Try a pint and decide for yourself.

Milwaukee Brewing Increase Wheat - 7.5/10

Saturday, August 15, 2015

Empyrean Fallen Angel Review

Name: Empyrean Fallen Angel
Style: Sweet Stout
ABV: 5.6%
IBUs: 19

Two new breweries made their way to the store shelves in Minnesota; This brewery is not one of them but it is from Nebraska and it comes in the form of Empyrean Brewing, which is based out of Lincoln, Nebraska.

I don't know too much about the brewery itself aside from the fact they have been in existence since 1990 & have just very recently started distributing to our neck of the woods. Tonight I'll be looking at their Fallen Angel, which is their Sweet Stout, a style that I've had great luck with as of late. Though I did notice on Empyrean's website that this is technically a spring seasonal and since we're pretty much in the second half of summer, I'm sort of late to the party on this one.

Appearance - Pitch black with no visible carbonation. The head is brown & thin with very little retention. The lacing is on the sparse side but not entirely devoid of anything

Aroma - Strong chocolate malts & roasted barley with some moderate lactose notes, some light coffee grounds and just a touch of light floral hops.

Taste - Sweet milk chocolate/lactose notes with a solid chocolate malt backbone, backed up by some caramel sweetness, with bitter & floral hops on the back end of the palate. As for the aftertaste, it's surprisingly dry save for a light hoppiness and chocolate sweetness

Even though this may be out of season, I found this to be rather tasty. It's got a great chocolate and lactose base and everything else is balanced out nicely. As I said before, it's a spring seasonal but I could see myself drinking this year round.

Empyrean Fallen Angel - 8.5/10

Thursday, August 13, 2015

Great Lakes Sharpshooter Review

Name: Great Lakes Sharpshooter Session Wheat IPA
Style: White IPA/Witbier
ABV: 4.8%
IBUs: 40

I've been trying in earnest to start chipping away at the offerings from Great Lakes Brewing but I'll admit there is still some ground that needs to be covered. Which brings us to Sharpshooter Session Wheat IPA, the newest summer seasonal release from Great Lakes.

The beer get its name from Annie Oakley, an Ohio native who became one of the first women in America to be recognized as an entertainer for her outstanding marksmanship. If you've got a few minutes, look up Annie Oakley on Wikipedia, it's a very interesting read to say the least!

Appearance - Very hazy and very dark yellow color with a mild amount of visible carbonation. Thin white head, abundant lacing.

Aroma - Pungent malted wheat notes upfront followed by some mild pale maltiness and a light hint of dry floral & bitter hoppiness. So far, the nose matches what the name of the beer states it is.

Taste - Malted wheat and bitter floral hops on the front of the palate with some pale maltiness and a lightly bitter hop finish. The aftertaste of bitter hops lingers for a few seconds but otherwise it's quite dry.

There really isn't too much to say here. Sharpshooter's got a nice, simple flavor that I've come to expect out of some session beers. I wouldn't go out of my way to have this again as there are better session IPAs out there but I wouldn't be turning it down if someone were to offer it to me.

Great Lakes Sharpshooter - 8/10

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Schell's One Five Five Review

Name: Schell's One Five Five
Style: Amber Ale
ABV: 5%
IBUs: 35

This year is the 155th year that August Schell Brewing Company has been open. So to commemorate this landmark, they've released a new year-round offering called One Five Five, an amber ale whose name reflects the age of the brewery. Of course that isn't to say they haven't been doing anything new as of late but it's a nice gesture.

It's been awhile since I've reviewed an amber ale. In fact, I don't think I've looked at any ambers for the better part of 2015. Not intentional on my part but I need to start branching out more. Maybe today is that day.......maybe......

Appearance - Hazy dark orange color with a light reddish hue and a high amount of visible carbonation. The head is about a finger in width with some decent retention and takes on a light khaki-tan color. As for the lacing, it's not overly abundant but more along the lines of here and there.

Aroma - Strong toffee & Munich malts permeate the nose upfront with some mild chocolate roastiness. I'm also getting some floral & mild bitter hoppiness but it isn't immediately apparent due to the malt forwardness of this beer.

Taste - Munich and toffee malts dominate the front of the palate and linger throughout the palate but the floral and bitter hoppiness starts showing up on the back end of the palate and make up the bulk of the aftertaste. It's almost if the beer transitions from being malty at first to taking on some increasingly strong hop character.

One Five Five is, upon first look, fairly unremarkable but the way it gradually shifts its flavor profile as you drink it is actually pretty cool. It's a worthy addition to their year-round lineup and it's one of the better amber ales I've had in a long while.

Schell's One Five Five - 8.5/10

Saturday, August 8, 2015

Clown Shoes Pierre Ferrand Billionaire Review

Name: Clown Shoes Pierre Ferrand Billionaire
Style: Barleywine
ABV: 12%

Clown Shoes has become a regular visitor on my blog as of late, but the beer we have here is something that I've really been looking forward to having ever since I first heard about it a few months back and that doesn't happen too often.

Today I'll be reviewing Clown Shoe's Pierre Ferrand Billionaire, which is an English-Style Barleywine. What makes this beer so unique is that it was aged for 6 months in 30 year old Pierre Ferrand barrels, which is a brand of cognac. I'd be lying if I said that I didn't have high expectations for this beer because......well I do. I recall seeing another Billionaire release from Clown Shoes last year on store shelves but that was just aged in regular cognac barrels.

Appearance - A very hazy dark brown color with a moderate amount of visible carbonation along the sides of the glass. The head is about a finger in width and has a light khaki hue to it and some decent lacing.

Aroma - Strong raisin, vanilla, and oak notes followed by some plum/blackberry fruitness. I'm also getting a hefty caramelized malt base, some bitter hoppiness and even some light tobacco notes. It goes without saying that the nose has quite a bit of character to it.

Taste - Right away I'm getting some vibrant plum & blackberry fruitness, followed by, in no particular order: vanilla, oak, raisins, a strong caramel backbone, and a siazble bitter-resin hop profile. The aftertaste consists of vanilla, caramel, and bitter hops; All of which linger on the palate for quite a while.

I have to say this is quite fantastic and there's a ton going on here in the overall flavor. If there is one thing holding it back from being perfect, I'd have to say that the flavors could've been layered a little better instead of seemingly come together all at once. Even with that in mind, this is one of the best barleywines that I've ever had and the best barrel-aged one to come along yet!

Clown Shoes Pierre Ferrand Billionaire - 9.75/10

Thursday, August 6, 2015

Not Your Father's Root Beer Review

Name: Not Your Father's Root Beer
Style: Hard Root Beer/Malt Liquor
ABV: 5.9%

You want me to review this? C'mon guys, you can't be serious! Yes, believe it or not I've actually gotten several requests/inquiries to review this and I've held off on trying this out mainly because I don't consider Hard Root Beer to be actual beer, even though the creator of Not Your Father's Root Beer (NYFRB) calls it "beer" on a regular basis.

However, since NYFRB has taken this country by storm as far as demand goes, I guess I just HAVE to check out what all the cool kids are drinking. I do find it a bit perplexing that everyone is acting like Hard Root Beer is a brand new idea when Sprecher has been making their own Hard Root Beer for the past 2-3 years.

Doing a bit of research about this product, I found out that it started in a northern suburb of Chicago being brewed by Small Town Brewery, where it was sold to a few bars before becoming a huge hit. While Small Town Brewery still technically operates out of Wauconda, Illinois, NYFRB is being contract brewed at City Brewery in La Crosse, Wisconsin, where they make such fine products such as Mike's Hard Lemonade, Smirnoff Ice and Four Loko.

Oh joy..........

Appearance - Dark brown with a mild amount of carbonation. The head is initially khaki-colored in appearance but it fades away after a couple of seconds and there is no lacing to speak of.

Aroma - Well, it smells like root beer. You've got the sarsaparilla & vanilla notes mixed in with some cinnamon and what appears to be nutmeg. Not getting any booziness, so there's that.

Taste - Sarsaparilla & vanilla take over the front of the palate, with the sarsparilla lingering to the back end of the flavor which consists of moderate cinnamon & nutmeg notes with a light hint of ginger. The aftertaste is mainly sarsparilla and a light touch of vanilla and honey. I'm getting some light booziness too but it's pretty well masked by the other flavors

I honestly have no idea what score to give this beer. On one hand, it's doesn't taste anything like a beer and would be considered to be a malt beverage along the lines of say.... Mike's Hard Lemonade or those Kinky mixed drinks. On the other hand, it actually tastes quite good and it reminds me of Mug Root Beer, though I'm a loyal Barq's fan.

The final verdict: I still don't consider this to a beer per se.....but it tastes good and there's nothing I would consider to be remotely offensive about the taste. My only gripe is the asking price for a six-pack is a tad too high at around $11 a six-pack which makes me glad I got this as a single bottle.

Not Your Father's Root Beer - 8/10

Wednesday, August 5, 2015

Millstream German Pilsner Review

Name: Millstream German Pilsner
Style: Pilsner
ABV: 5%
IBUs: 25

Here's a brewery that I haven't really looked at before and that is Millstream Brewing based out of Amana, Iowa. If my memory serves me correctly, I've had one beer from these guys before and it was their Iowa Pale Ale. If my memory serves me even better, I believe I it 3 years ago when I was visiting from Chicago and I grabbed this as part of a mix-a-six.

For the time being, I've got their German Pilsner, which is what we will be reviewing today and it's a beer that I don't recall seeing before. As for the Iowa Pale Ale, I'll be sure to review that sometime in the near future.

Appearance - Fairly clear straw-yellow color with just a hint of haziness and a high amount of visible carbonation. The head is fairly thin with some mild retention and the lacing is very sparse with just a couple small spots here and there.

Aroma - I'm getting some pilsner & pale malts with some grassiness and light floral hoppiness. There's also a hint of very light yeastiness, so there's really not much to it.....let's try it out!

Taste - The flavor is, for the most part, fairly similar to the nose. You've got pilsner and pale maltiness with some lemongrass-like notes and a mild yet sweet floral hop profile on the back of the palate. The aftertaste itself is quite dry save for a light toastiness that lingers for maybe a few seconds.

This is a pilsner that plays it safe and, sure enough, it works in its favor. You've got a nice crisp pilsner with a light body that makes this an ideal beer to drink on a nice spring/summer day. Like I said, it plays it safe so don't expect anything too extraordinary.

Millstream German Pilsner - 8/10

Tuesday, August 4, 2015

3 Sheeps Really Cool Waterslides Review

Name: 3 Sheeps Really Cool Waterslides
Style: India Pale Ale
ABV: 6.2%
IBUs: 60

I'm taking a break from my Texas Craft Beer package (for reasons you'll find out later) to look at a beer from 3 Sheeps Brewing Company, a brewery that is, to my knowledge, fairly new to Minnesota. Based out of Sheboygan, Wisconsin, I've seen this brewery in stores during some of my excursions to Wisconsin but it was in the form of bombers of their fresh hop IPA that had some age to it.

So today I'm looking at their Really Cool Waterslides IPA. If I had to venture a guess, I would say the name of the beer is an homage to Wisconsin Dells. For those of you not living in the Midwest, Wisconsin Dells is the Waterpark Capital of the World, boasting an insanely high number of Waterparks and Amusement Parks. As the old saying goes: One has not lived until they have experienced Noah's Ark Waterpark.

Appearance - Very hazy dark orange color with a high amount of visible carbonation. The head is on the thinner side but foamy and some decent retention. The head has a light khaki hue and the lacing is quite abundant and sticky

Aroma - Piney hops, orange peel and pungent grapefruits starts things off with a strong toffee/caramel malt backbone and just a touch of yeastiness in the back. There's not really much else but it is mildly dank smelling, not a bad thing (at least for me.)

Taste - Strong dank piney hoppiness & apricots on the front of the palate with an equally strong caramel/toffee malt backbone. This is followed by some light orange peel notes, some mild yeastiness and some bitter hops, all of these make up the aftertaste and it lingers for quite a while.

Really Cool Waterslides is......really cool! The dank and malty aspects of the flavor are very well balanced and the drinkability is actually quite good! If you see this on the store shelves, this is one IPA that is definitely worthy of your attention.

3 Sheep Really Cool Waterslides - 9/10

Monday, August 3, 2015

Lone Pint Yellow Rose Review

Name: Lone Pint Yellow Rose
Style: India Pale Ale
ABV: 6.8%
IBUs: 62

Been busy the past couple of days but I'm back at it, let's have a beer! I've got a couple beers left in my Texas craft beer package and I'm moving onto the next one. This time around, I've got a beer from a place called Lone Pint Brewery based out of Magnolia, Texas. I've got their Yellow Rose, which is described as a single malt and single hop (SMASH) IPA. And what do you know, the hop used is Mosaic!

I believe the beer gets its name from the folk song "The Yellow Rose of Texas," which itself comes from the folklore of Emily D. West, also known as, you guessed it, The Yellow Rose of Texas. Since I'd rather get to the beer, this article does a much better job of explaining things and worth a read if you've got a couple minutes to kill.

Appearance - Darker yellow color with a good amount of haziness and a mild amount of visible carbonation. The head is fairly foamy in appearance and the lacing is quite abundant.

Aroma - Right away I'm getting some pungent citrus hop notes, a bit of a floral aroma and some toffee maltiness. So far, it's got all the signs of a SMASH IPA.

Taste - Moderate Citrus hop and light grapefruit notes with some more toffee maltiness, a bit of light yeastiness and a moderate bitter hop aftertaste that lingers around of a couple of moments.

Since it's a SMASH IPA, it's not expected to have an overly complex flavor and that is most certainly the case here. At the same time, it's nice and drinkable without being in-your-face in regards to the hoppiness of the beer. I'd say if you're looking for an IPA that's good and not for mulling over, check this out!

Lone Pint Yellow Rose - 8/10